Endless Summer Vacation: Miley Cyrus album review

Image via Brianna Capozzi

Image via Brianna Capozzi

After her lead single, “Flowers” was drilled into our brains for almost two months, Miley Cyrus finally dropped her newest album, Endless Summer Vacation. “Flowers” was hugely successful, landing at #1 for several weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. After the release of “Flowers”, fans have speculated that the song takes inspiration from “When I Was Your Man” by Bruno Mars, with similar lyrics that seem to be responses to his song. Fans think the song is about Miley’s ex-husband, Liam Hemsworth, who she got divorced from in 2019. The music video for the song was filmed in a house where he is said to have cheated on Miley with more than ten people. The song being released on Liam Hemsworth’s birthday further confirmed to fans that the song was directed at him.


A demo version of the song was released a few days before the album’s release, featuring a less production-heavy version of the hit. Along with the demo version of “Flowers”, she announced a “Backyard Special” to be released on Disney+ on the same day as the album, as well as dropping album and song teasers. On the day of the album release, she also dropped a music video for “River”. 


On my first listen, the song “Muddy Feet (feat. Sia)” was a standout for me off the album. The strong production combined with the gorgeous vocal layering makes this track incredibly fun to listen to. It is the song on the album with the most aggressive and heavy feeling production. The song has a really angry and hostile feel, touching on toxic relationships and feeling let down by someone close to you. The ending of the song where Sia is vocalizing carries the feeling of anger, while sounding absolutely gorgeous and a change of pace to the very linear and beat driven sound. The beat drop in Sia’s part is hands down my favorite part of the entire album, and never fails to make me marvel at the incredible production of the song. 


Another favorite of mine off of this album was “Thousand Miles (feat. Bradi Carlile)”. I loved the acoustic guitar, which adds a soft and uplifting feel to the song. I also enjoyed the harmonica utilized at the end of the song. The acoustic instruments are a nice change from the synthetic sound of the other songs, and contribute to the inspiring lyrics and country-adjacent sound. The layering of Brandi Carlile’s and Miley’s vocals in certain sections adds a gorgeous depth to the lines where both singers are featured. As you can probably tell, I am a huge fan of the production on this song, and I love that Miley took a break from the heavy synths to bring us this uplifting acoustic song. 


My two least favorites from this album were “Handstand” and “Wonder Woman”. I wasn’t a fan of the spoken intro on “Handstand”, which I found a little bit strange and which took me out of the enjoyment of the album. She talks about being on a raft with someone called “Big Twitchy”, which I found bizarre and seemed like a strange attempt on Miley’s part to switch up the album. The second song that I didn’t like, “Wonder Woman”, seemed out of place when compared to the rest of the album. It was a very slow song that talked about a woman bearing and concealing her sadness, and I found the pace of the song to be a big change from everything else on the album. It was the only real slow song on the album, and I wish that she had either included more slow songs throughout the album or had cut this one to put another, faster paced one instead. 


Overall, Endless Summer Vacation was a great album that I see as a strong follow up to the Plastic Hearts era. It has a distinct sound, and the vast majority of songs seem to contribute to a cohesive album filled with synths and gorgeous vocals. It is an album that you could cry to one day, and could dance to on the next. Centering around themes of moving on from heartbreak and self love, I would say that Endless Summer Vacation has cemented its place in Miley Cyrus’s discography as one of her greatest works.